Who is guilty of overeating on the holidays? It's practically a tradition. I recognize the holidays as two distinctive days: Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Yet, most of us try to rationalize our decision with special foods we normally don't eat year-round, even when available at our local supermarket. Unfortunately, overindulging can lead to guilt, weight gain, and yes, fatigue.
So how should you approach the holiday buffet with all your favorites to avoid the pressure and temptations? Here are some strategies to get you through the season of eating:
Planning is your biggest advantage. Find out what time you'll be eating and plan your daily menu around it. Will it be a big dinner served at 6 p.m.? If so, eat a lighter breakfast and lunch than usual. But also have a healthy snack just before you leave home, so you don't arrive at the party feeling famished; otherwise you'll overeat.
Likewise, ask the hosts/hostesses if you can bring a dish for the dinner. Most would love the help. If allowed, bring something healthy, such as chicken and veggie skewers, roasted vegetables or an assortment of fruit.
When it's time to eat, grab a salad plate instead of a dinner plate. You'll fool yourself into maintaining portion control. Skip fried, buttered, creamy or cheesy foods. At a minimum, have them in a limited portion.
Load at least half of your plate with vegetables or fruits, then add just a taste of other foods. Skip foods that you would eat on any given day. Don't waste your calories on foods that aren't special.
Research shows you'll eat less food and take in fewer calories if you eat slowly, so pace yourself. Take small bites, chew slowly, and sip water or another zero calorie drink between bites. Once finished, leave the table. Lingering can encourage nibbling. Eating slow, for 20 minutes in fact, allows your brain to get the message that your stomach is full.
Alcohol adds calories in a hurry. If you want to have a drink with dinner, delay it until you begin your meal. Set a limit in advance. These empty calories can really add up and hit your calorie count hard.
When you give into temptation, acknowledge it, and move on. It happens to all of us. Just go back to a healthy eating plan as soon as possible.
For more information, contact the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609. We're online at [email protected], on Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS, on Twitter @MillerCountyFCS or on the web at uaex.edu/Miller.
Oven Roasted Asparagus is a great vegetable dish for any meal and is easy to make. It would be a great addition to any meal.
Oven Roasted Asparagus
1 bunch thin asparagus spears, trimmed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Preheat oven to 425. Place the asparagus into a mixing bowl, and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss to coat the spears, and then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper. Arrange the asparagus onto a baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake in the preheated oven until just tender, 12 to 15 minutes depending on thickness. Sprinkle with lemon juice just before serving.
Carla Due is a county extension agent-staff chair with the Miller County Extension Service, part of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.